What is the change? Beginning April 1, China will roll out revamped work authorization procedures.

What does the change mean? Work permits will be classified into three types (A, B and C), and an online management system will be introduced.

  • Implementation time frame: April 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment permits.
  • Who is affected: Employers sponsoring foreign nationals on employment permits.
  • Impact on processing times: Overall processing timelines may be longer because of additional document requirements.
  • Business impact: The system will streamline the process, but in the short-term businesses should anticipate delays.
  • Next steps: BAL is working with companies to register with the online system, a prerequisite to applying for work authorization.

Background: The new procedures have been piloted in 10 cities and provinces since November 2016 and introduce a points-based framework and simplification of work authorization categories. Category A is for high-level foreign experts in science, high tech and special talent; category B is for market-demand talent; category C is for temporary/service market foreign employees. Applicants will be scored based on their age, salary, education, Mandarin language skills, work location and duration, and other factors such as working in remote areas.

BAL Analysis: Companies should complete registration of their online account if they have not already done so. In addition to planning for potential delays during the transition, employers should anticipate longer document-preparation timelines due to new rules on obtaining legalization of supporting documents.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in China. For additional information, please contact

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